The 12 Rules of Raking

Lighten the load of your least favorite fall chore with these simple tips.

By Barbara Pleasant and Deb Martin


Enjoy the silence of oldschool raking8. Wear gloves to prevent blisters. Cloth gloves are comfy, but any glove that protects your skin from rubbing on the rake handle will suffice.

9. Wear a dust mask when shredding leaves with your mower, especially if you have allergies or are easily irritated by dust. 

10. Don’t pick up leaves unless you must. Instead, use an old sheet as a tarp, pick up the corners, and carry or drag the bundle to your piles. Few carts or wheelbarrows have the capacity and portability necessary to make them worthwhile during leaf season. Use a sheet, tarp, or sling to collect and move shredded leaves.

11. Watch the noise. When you’re not in the mood to mess with your mower, or the sound of a leaf blower or shredder would ruin your neighbors’ quiet afternoon in their yard, fall back to manual raking and collecting methods and work with whole leaves.  

12. Work a little at a time, and stop when you’ve had enough. Keep in mind that leaf season will last for several weeks, so you have plenty of time to let yourself enjoy the weather and the work. 

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This article is excerpted from Compost Gardening by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin. (Storey, 2008)